Hello all, apologies for not posting for the last few weeks, I have been abroad doing work experience! A summary of this fabulous experience will show up here soon. I will also be fairly busy in the upcoming weeks but I will endeavour to post every week. Anyway, to keep you interested, here is an animal profile on the vaquita, the world’s most rare marine mammal.
Photo credit: Thomas Jefferson
Common name: Vaquita porpoise
Scientific name: Phocoena sinus
Conservation status: critically endangered
Habitat: marine, only in the Northern Gulf of California
Size: up to 5 ft in length and up to 120 lbs in weight.
Diet: ocean fish, for example the gulf croaker. They have also been known to eat squid.
Lifespan: approximately 20 years. Sexual maturity is believed to occur at 3-6 years.
Appearance: is mainly grey, with large, dark circles around its eyes. It also has dark patches on its lips that stretch to its dorsal fin, forming what looks like a smile.
Breeding: the mating season is from April to May and they have a 10-11 month gestation period, resulting in just one calf. A female vaquita will have a calf every two or so years.
Threats: fishing gear and commercial shrimp trawlers.
Other Interesting Facts:
- only discovered in 1958.
- to help increase the vaquita population, the Mexican government has recently announced a permanent ban on gill nets.
- the vaquita is the world’s most rare marine mammal.
- the vaquita is also the smallest porpoise in the world.
- seen either alone or in small groups of two or three.
- they use sonar to communicate with each other and also to navigate the waters of the gulf.